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The jury system and magistrates are very important for providing legal aid to the people. In the jury system lay magistrates also play a vital role and have some responsibilities. There are many systems for providing justice without going to court and these manners include the alternative dispute system. Under the ADR system, the party involves to settle the dispute or accessing any mutual acceptance between parties remain impartial. In this report, some importance and role of a lay magistrate are defined and some methods under the ADR system with their benefits are also explained. The jury system and its functions, importance are described in the report. This report also provides some details about the legal aid system for civil and criminal cases. So, no one can remain unjust and legal aid can be reached to everyone.
In the criminal justice system lay people are allowed. Lay people are referred to as people who are not legally qualified to provide justice to society. The term lay refers to voluntary and unsalaried persons who are different from professional magistrates. The main aim of including nonqualified people in the justice system is to provide more fair justice to the people and avoid people who criticize the court for making decisions behind the doors. Lay magistrates mostly deal with criminal cases but they also deal with some civil matters as family cases, nonpayment of bills. The functions performed by the lay magistrate involve a wide range of works. These magistrates are also known as the justice of the peace. These magistrates can hear the cases in criminal courts, family courts, and in their communities. Lay magistrates can only sit on a bench with two or more magistrates. Lay magistrates also have some limitations in their roles and functions. They can issue search and arrest warrants. (Abbasi, M. and Parsa, E., 2019)
Some qualities must have been followed by the magistrate such as sound judgment, maturity, commitment and reliability, social awareness, understanding and communication, good character. (Emeka, N.G. and Ogiri, O.T., 2021) The age of the magistrate must be more than 18 years and less than 65 years, must be able to sit in the court for 26 half days in the year, and must not have any criminal record. People are also getting some advantages from the lay magistrates. They can refer their cases and need not pay any fees, they can save their time because cases are dealt with by magistrates in very little time. Magistrate also has some local knowledge about the area in which he works that helps him to solve any matter. The main role of the lay magistrate is to hear all the evidence carefully provided in the court. The magistrate must follow the structured decision-making procedure prepared by the courts. Some legal advisers in court advise the magistrate with some legal points. (dos Santos Maciel, C.S.F., 2019)
Magistrates deals with mainly three kinds of cases such as:
These offences are less serious and defendants are not trial by jury in these matters. Matters are covered relating to minor assault, motoring offences. These are called summary offences and can be trialled by lay magistrates in the court. (Javan Jafari, A. and Norozi, M., 2018)
Either way offences
These are some criminal cases that are treated in the crown's court or magistrate's court. Under these offences, if magistrates think that their sentencing powers are sufficient to deal with the cases then they deal with the case in the summary trial or crown’s court.
It includes only offences as murder, manslaughter and rape, robbery.
There is not any professional or legal knowledge is required for the magistrate but he needs to have intelligence, common sense, integrity, and capacity to act fairly in the cases.
So, these are some roles and functions of lay magistrates.
The concept of the jury system was adopted in Britain and its prior functions are quite different from the present system. Earlier in England jurors acted as witnesses providing sources of information on local matters. With time, these matters are converted into civil and criminal matters. The jury system was the basic part of the English legal system. The jury system plays an important role in society as it provides legal aid and justice to everyone and it is not for the unjust leaders. In today's world, the jury system not only helps society in providing justice but also stops the leaders who use the legal system to silence their opponents. The constitutional position is not decided in the English jury system because it has vulnerability. In England, the constitution is unwritten due to the right to trial of cases is not provided under the constitution. But at present Juries Act, 1974 is the chief statute governing the jury. The role of the jury is limited with some most serious criminal cases and offences but sometimes it also deals with some civil matters. (Salhi, B., et al, 2019)
The main function of the jury is to produce the evidence and find out the facts about the case. The jury acts on the provided relevant law by the judges in any case and they have to implement some laws to access any verdict. The jury decided for sentencing in criminal cases and the amount of money paid by the defendant in civil matters.
A jury in criminal cases
In the criminal justice system jury system is very important and they deal with some minority cases. Criminal offences can be differentiated into three categories such as summary offences that means less serious offences and can be tried only in magistrate's court. (Kime, R. and Yacine, L., 2019) On the other side, the most serious offences are known as indictable offences and must be tried in the crown's court. Triable either way is another kind of offence that can be tried in any court according to the willingness of the defendant. Any case can be tried in the crown’s court by jury and defendant pleads guilty then the case must proceed further according to the will of the defendant. There are many types of crimes are committed but summary cases are majorly committed. It is difficult to find out the reason behind the choosing of crown court trial instead of magistrate court by the defendants. But it has been seen by many people that mostly acquittal is done before a jury than the magistrate. According to UCL's professor Cheryl Thomas and his report, the jury system in UK and Wales is fair, effective, and efficient. The main aim of the jury is to provide the fairest decision or verdict in any case that must be based on law provided by the judges and impartial decision. (Townley, L., 2020)
Alternative dispute resolution refers to some ways to resolve the disputes or matters arising between consumers and traders without going to the courts. There are some common forms of ADR’S such as mediation under which a third party helps the disputed parties in providing a mutually acceptable outcome. Arbitration is also a better form of providing justice to the people that are different from the court. This system provides quick and quality decisions to parties due to no overcrowding of cases like courts. It also provides helpful decisions in international disputes. (McKay, C., 2018) It is also a less expensive way of seeking justice. ADR system is very effective and used by parties in many disputes even courts have penalized the parties if they do not consider this resolution system in some decided cases. It is the most efficient manner of remedy for the parties related to the dispute. The main aim of arbitration is to attain a fair resolution of the dispute with the help of a third party.
Some ways are involved in ADR procedure such as:
Under this parties are not bound legally by negotiation. Parties seek to solve their arguments and disputes by implementing a card on the table approach for the dispute.
It is also not binding legally on parties. Under this third party is allowed to communicate with both parties regarding the dispute. The third-party discusses the issue with both parties openly and assists them to reach a mutual agreement. It is considered that mediator must be impartial.
Under this third party is involved and allowed to discuss the case of dispute with the parties remain impartial but the decision taken under this is legally binding upon the parties. (Burton, M., 2018)
It is mostly used in employment disputes and decisions arising out from this method are not legally binding upon parties. Under this parties are encouraged to resolve their disputes out of court. The conciliator also provides his suggestions to the parties so, they can easily reach a mutual acceptance agreement. (Ameratunga, R., et al, 2019)
The alternative dispute system is very important as it provides some benefits are as under.
Cost significantly less than the court: In the court, the expenses are too much for any proceeding. Resolving any issue with this system can be less expensive but, in any case, the dispute can create heavy financial loss due to court proceedings.
Reduce stress: In the court proceedings, a person has to give his time in court and have to take off from the work that increases the burden of work. It may lead the job insecurity for the person due to discontinuity in the work. It may also lead to heavy stress on the parties. It is a stressful method for disputed parties. But parties can reduce their stress by choosing the ADR system for resolving the disputes. (Giametta, C., 2020)
Take into account the needs of both parties: in the courts, legal legislation is implemented for disputes, and proceedings of the court are more rigid. ADR is a more flexible and responsive method for resolving disputes. (Oliver, R., et al, 2019)
It also saves the time of parties regarding disputes and confidentiality can be maintained in this system. So, the ADR system is more effective and beneficial in resolving disputes.
Access to justice is the fundamental principle of law. access to justice is so important and in the absence of it, people cannot raise their voice, exercise rights, and decisions accountable. (Corcoran, M.S., et al, 2018).
A resident arranged admittance to equity system requires a conceptualisation of lawful and equity needs of individuals. Meeting legitimate and equity needs is a particular strategy objective from the overall modernisation objective of expanded productivity inside the more extensive equity area as a fundamental system for encouraging admittance to equity. It shifts consideration away from recognizing the "right" establishments in the equity situation and accentuation on courts and formal question goal towards a resident put together concentration concerning ordinary lawful and equity issues, their association with different issues, normal ways for guidance and to goal and results estimated according to the singular's point of view.
The abovementioned report mentioned the legal system and access to justice in the UK. It is very important for every country and getting constitutional validity is also very necessary. Without the legal system and its functions, no one can get justice. It is the fundamental right of every person to get justice. There are many courts and ADR systems that are described in the report with advantages that can assist the people to get proper justice. The importance of the ADR system and its significance is also mentioned in the report. The jury system and its importance are mentioned briefly in the report. After this, the report also provided some details about legal aid in civil and criminal cases.
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